Is Shipping Really Free?

This just in:  I’m a huge Amazon fan.  I buy all kinds of stuff online and love the fact that I can get everything delivered to my doorstep in 2 days.  Shipping is always free…or is it?

The other day, my wife asked me to buy a certain type of mouthwash.  It was seawater or something like that.  I found it on Amazon and bought it in about 3 microseconds.  Two days later, it shows up and I give the package to my wife.  She opens the package and says, “Did you know you just paid $23.63 for something I can buy anywhere for about $6?”  Stunned, I did a little research online and she was right.  It actually cost me $10 to send it back but in the end, that $10 plus $6 for the product still saved me a lot of money.

Since then I have been paying attention.  The other day, I was at a sporting goods store for camping gear.  I saw a pop-up trash can for $10.  I had no idea if this was a good idea so I checked Amazon where the exact same thing was on sale for $15 and claimed to be marked down from $20.  A few days later, during Amazon’s “Prime  Day” sale, the same product had been marked “down/up” to $23 because…you know…there was a sale.

Next, I was driving around somewhere and it occurred to me that if I invented a hand-held carpet shampoo device, I would be rich.  First…check the internet to see if this has already been done.  Turns out it has.  There are two versions that seem to be popular.  One is $70 from the manufacturer and is also $70 on Amazon.  The other is $80 from the manufacturer and $100 on Amazon.

Now, to be clear.   I love Amazon.  I love the convenience.  I love the idea of being able to find something that I would otherwise have no idea where to buy it.  I once needed a 9-inch bolt with two 45 degree bends in it to mount an air filter in my 31 year old Jeep.  Amazon had it.

But…

I have only just started comparison shopping and thus far…Amazon is either equal in price or more expensive than the competition.

So, buyer beware..

Having said all of that, I remain a Jeff Bezos fan if for no other reason than he is saving the series The Expanse.  Plus…his Washington Post is a voice of reason in a world where “reason” is losing its luster.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

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